Residential rooftop solar options?

rooftop solar panels

Mary messages:

I am thinking of going solar on my home... do you have any information on which company, or companies, offer the best deals and have proven most reliable in the Albany area?

We're very curious to hear people's thoughts and suggestions on this question. The rooftop solar industry has been booming recently thanks in large part to a steep drop in the price solar panels. And just anecdotally, we've noticed panels showing up on a bunch of local houses and businesses.

There seem to be roughly two models for getting panels on a house: buy the panels outright and have the installed -- or pay little or nothing upfront for installation, and then buy the power from the panels at a fixed rate from the installing company.

So, experiences or thoughts for Mary? Please share!


We talked with Solar City; while we eventually determined that our site was not suitable for solar at the moment (though I'm hoping that improvements in efficiency will change that in a few years), I was favorably impressed with the knowledge and straightforwardness of the folks I spoke to there, including the person who came by and evaluated our roof. We looked at both roof- and ground-mounted options.

Either way, you pay... Best to wait.

I have too many old trees blocking my roof, but
had some great information.

I've heard good things about Monolith - which has their solar infrastructure on many schools and fire departments in the area. Also, with Troy city councilman Rodney Wiltshire's Empire Solar Store.

Monolith Solar is pretty good; I'd give them a shout to see what they have to offer.

There are lots of things to consider when weighing out the decision to go solar. Lease vs. Purchasing. Economically speaking.. in NY. Right Now. It makes most sense to purchase if you have a tax appetite. Between the NYSERDA rebate and the state and local tax credits. You can own a system with no money down and have a fixed cost for electricity lower than what you are paying now. Leasing is great for those that don't have taxable income. (Seniors, Self Employed, ect.)

Try High Peaks Solar of Troy - Kevin Bailey is the owner. He is an honest guy and will tell you whether you have the right conditions for solar panels. He will also analyze your utility bill and let you know how much you could save!

My advice is not to wait, since the NYSERDA rebate is rumored to get reduced again. If you wait, you may miss out on the maximum rebates... There are different Solarize volunteer groups that are meeting all over the capital region. I suggest finding out more from a group of volunteers, such as to see what their thoughts are.

My very trustworthy, skilled, and knowledgeable neighbor works for Empire Solar Store and has for a handful of years and he seems to like them.

You might want to check out this small but very techy festival in Vermont - combines fest music & crafts with hands-on workshops (free with admission) on alternative energy install & other interesting stuff.

We purchased a ground-mounted system from Hudson Solar ( but they also sell and lease roof-mounted systems. Their work is very professional and thorough and they helped us sort out the paperwork for the NYSERDA and tax rebates/credits. They also sent their rep to three separate planning board meetings with our town in order to answer technical questions from the board about the project.

We added a reporting system to our basic package and we like that because we can see how we're doing whenever we care to look.

Hudson Solar is one of the largest solar companies in the area with offices in Albany and Rhinebeck. They only use solar panels from reputable companies who have been in business a long time so you don't have to worry about the warranty not working out because the manufacturer is no longer in business.

Hope that helps!

We just went Solar with Monolith. They were 100% on point throughout the process. Their consultant was not pushy in making us decide to go solar, and reviewed the advantages of an ownership program, as compared to leasing. In the end, it was all about the equity. We own our system and so far, have not had a National Grid bill!

SolarizeAlbany is a volunteer-coordinated not-for-profit bringing roof-top solar to the Capital District through bulk-purchasing and pre-screening of vendors & technologies. At $3.00 per watt (before incentives & rebates), our effort saves time / money / carbon dioxide.
Join us on July 9 at WAMC's Linda Norris for information and answers.

There's a great initiative within the City of Albany (where county residents can also buy in) to drive down solar installation rates through bulk purchasing, called Solarize Albany. You can either pursue a lease agreement or out right purchase a system, depending on the specs for your house and your preference. Either way, a free assessment is performed, to at least give you an idea of the feasibility and potential costs. You can check it out here:

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